Tuesday, May 10, 2005

It has been a while, hasn't it?

Life has been getting in the way of blogging, but there here's something that just need to be shouted or screamed from the rooftops.

The first is RealID. Because of the paranoid fantasies of one Congressman, James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the US has adopted a national ID card. Twenty years ago this would have been dismissed as a paranoid fantasy. Within 24 hours it will be law. RealID mandates that all state IDs and drivers licenses conform to a single federal standard, be registered in a single federal database and contain a hell of a lot of personal information. With a "common machine readable format" it would allow every bar and convenience store to harvest your name, permanent address, age, social security number and description. In short, it would automate identity theft.

The supposed rationale for this is to prevent terrorism and illegal immigration. This cuts as much ice as a soap hacksaw. The 9/11 terrorists all had legitimate ID. Most illegal immigrants drive without state licenses. All it will do is bury another freedom we used to take for granted, the freedom to walk down the street without having someone say "papers, citizen".

Bruce Schneier's Blog has an excellent analysis of the idiocy of this measuer from a security perspective. UnReal ID has more background and a free fax service so that you can tell your Senator what you think of the soon-to-be-law.

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